Articles Classical Music & Crossover Europe Isaac Albéniz John Williams

(Video) John Williams – Asturias (Isaac Albéniz)

Spain, Europe | 'Asturias' by Isaac Albéniz in the interpretion of John Williams (classical guitar).

Interpreter (Wikipedia):

John Christopher Williams (born 24 April 1941) is an Australian virtuosic classical guitarist renowned for his ensemble playing as well as his interpretation and promotion of the modern classical guitar repertoire. In 1973, he shared a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category with fellow guitarist Julian Bream for Julian and John (Works by Lawes, Carulli, Albéniz, Granados). Guitar historian Graham Wade has said: “John is perhaps the most technically accomplished guitarist the world has seen.”

Song (Encyclopedia Britannica):

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Asturias, original title Preludio, or Prélude, also called Asturias-Leyenda and Leyenda, solo piano piece written in the early 1890s by Catalan composer and pianist Isaac Albéniz, using rolled chords that effectively evoke the strumming of a guitar. In fact, the version usually played is a transcription of the original piano piece for guitar. Despite being called Asturias—which is the name of a northern region of Spain—the piece powerfully evokes the distinctive flamenco, or gypsy, music of Andalusia, the southernmost region of the country.

 

Asturias is Albéniz’s most frequently performed work. Written while he was living outside his homeland, it was intended to conjure the Alhambra, the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada. The composition has two main melodies. First comes a determined, driving theme that builds in energy. A more melancholy middle section follows. After the contemplative middle section, the opening melody returns and brings the piece to its conclusion.

The piece was originally published in 1892 as the opening section (Preludio) to a three-movement suite called Chants d’Espagne, which was expanded and republished in five movements in 1897. A slightly changed version, “Asturias-Leyenda,” was published in 1911 as the second movement of a nine-part suite.

Instrument:

For the origin of the word ‘guitar’, there are several references to the ancient Sanskrit word for “string” – “tar”(this is the language from which the languages of central Asia and northern India developed) or Spanish word guitarra in the 1600s, from which was further adopted as English word guitar, the German Gitarre, and the French guitare.

The classical guitar (also known as concert guitar, classical acoustic, nylon-string guitar, or Spanish guitar) is the member of the guitar family used in classical music. It is an acoustical wooden guitar with strings made of nylon, rather than the metal strings used in acoustic and electric guitars. The traditional classical guitar has twelve frets clear of the body and is held on the left leg, so that the hand that plucks or strums the strings does so near the back of the sound-hole (this is called the classical position). The modern steel string guitar, on the other hand, usually has fourteen frets clear of the body and is commonly played off the hip.

More information can be found at: Britannica, Wikipedia Guitar | Classical Guitar, GuyGuitars.

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